THE MALL GROUP, one of Thailand’s largest shopping-centre operators, targets double-digit revenue growth next year, thanks partly to the opening of its Bluport Hua Hin Resort Mall and the expansion of its Nakhon Ratchasima branch this month.
Vice chairwoman Supaluck Umpujh said the group expected its revenue to reach Bt55 billion this year, up 7 per cent from 2015.
Among its mall brands, The EmQuartier is projected to grow by more than 20 per cent, since this will be its first full year of operation, and The Emporium will fetch nearly double-digit growth. The Mall branches, meanwhile, anticipate low growth as many of them are under renovation.
Fresh from celebrating the opening of Bluport, a joint venture between The Mall Group and Proud Real Estate of the Liptapanlop family, in Hua Hin on Saturday, Supaluck held a briefing with reporters yesterday to elaborate on her next opening this coming Saturday: the face-lifted The Mall Nakhon Ratchasima.
The Korat branch of The Mall opened in 2000, and the group spent more than Bt2 billion on the grand facelift, which expands retail space by about 100,000 square metres to total 350,000sqm. It will spend another Bt300 million to renovate the old shopping spaces.
The facelift comes as Nakhon Ratchasima prepares to welcome two new large shopping malls, the Terminal 21 Korat in December and the CentralPlaza Nakhon Ratchasima in September next year.
“It helps give me an adrenaline rush,” said Supaluck, also known as “the Iron Butterfly” of Thailand’s retail industry, when asked how she viewed the competition.
“Competition gets fiercer but there is the chance to draw in shoppers from the surrounding provinces. Hence whoever [attains] perfection will win.”
Supaluck believes Nakhon Ratchasima will be able to attract more shoppers from nearby provinces, who will visit more often since “it will be worthwhile to do so”.
The expanded The Mall Nakhon Ratchasima includes many new attractions, including “the Snow & Ice Planet” to be opened on Saturday, which features an investment of more than Bt500 million to showcase an artificial snow ground produced by the latest German technology that is very close to natural snow.
“For the first time, northeastern Thailand will see snow. We think people from all over Isaan, as well as Bangkokians who drive to Khao Yai, must drive up there,” she said.
The Mall Nakhon Ratchasima expects 65 per cent of its shoppers to come from within the province and the rest from surrounding provinces. Nakhon Ratchasima, the second-largest city in Thailand, has a population of 3 million, and another 5 million people live in surrounding provinces.
Supaluck said the group still had a 40-to-50-rai (6.4-8 hectares) plot of land behind The Mall Nakhon Ratchasima reserved for future development. She has not decided yet whether this should be used for real-estate projects or other attractions.
Spending per bill at The Mall Nakhon Ratchasima is about Bt3,000, similar to its Bangkok branches. The group expects the number of visitors to the Korat branch to grow by at least 30 per cent after the grand facelift.
The Mall Nakhon Ratchasima will maintain its leading position because of its “diamond-grade” location, perfection and comprehensive features and excellent services, full-fledged marketing and promotional activities, the group’s long-time experience and strong customer base, she said.
The Mall Nakhon Ratchasima’s other key attractions and outlets include the Fantasia Lagoon water park, the Wonder Planet, Korat Cineplex, Gourmet Market, Fitness First, Burger King, Laem Charoen Seafood, H&M, Uniqlo, Sushi Hero, Jaspal, and Cotton On.